We left Barcelos on Saturday morning after deciding that the dire weather forecast for the day would still allow us to walk. The previous night had been stormy indeed with heavy downpours and gale force winds, but come morning things seemed to have eased off a bit. The updated forecast for Saturday was for moderate weather during the day and heavy winds and rain to return mid-afternoon. We felt sure we would be safely ensconced in Casa Fernanda before the weather turned, so off we went. It was the right choice. Strong winds racked through the tree tops but we felt little impact close to the ground. We had a few rain showers but nothing our umbrellas couldn’t handle. So we plunged in enjoying the day’s walk until we reached the “old bridge” about 6kms from Fernanda’s. Here the path, and all the surrounding fields were under water. Opting not to take our boots off we just waded in. The water came to about mid calf and then we were out of it. Surprisingly My boots didn’t fill up. Not sure why but we walked another 6 kms to Fernanda’s with wet feet without incident. We walked into Fernanda’s yard at close to 1:30 pm. She was outside with her husband Jacinto. Before we knew it she had us in a private room and was gathering laundry together and planning for lunch. She is truly a force of nature, but a very caring force of nature. By 2:00 pm we were all in her kitchen, the laundry was in the machine (thank you Jacinto) and a pot of lentil soup was simmering away. She asked us what we would like to drink and so lunch began. The interesting thing is that lunch just sort of ran into dinner. A German lady trailed in after us just catching the change of the weather. It was now really howling. Fernanda got us all settled in with food and drink and then more food and more drink, and then great conversation, and then more food and more drink. At 10:00 pm (after 8 splendid hours of eating, drinking, and talking) we all agreed to call it a night (but not after one last shot of aguardiente) and headed off to our beds.
Sunday morning dawned with clear skies that lifted our spirits. The previous night’s sleep had been interrupted by rolling thunder and tropical downpours. But that was then and the new day was nothing but peace and tranquility. Jacinto was in the kitchen cooking up eggs and ham, ands anything else that was within reach. I never thought I would eat again after yesterday, but there we were tucking it away. Amazing. In short Fernanda and her husband, Jacinto, are simply two of the finest happiest people we have had the privilege to meet. They showered us with kindness and hospitality and made it all seem normal and natural. We felt so very much at home. What an amazing experience. As sad as we were to leave, the pilgrim road was calling so off we went for a short walk to Ponte do Lima. The path we followed was beautiful, calm, and the weather was perfect. We walked into our hotel in Ponte do Lima close to 1:30 pm. We had a quick shower and then headed across the old bridge to a nice restaurant just opposite the albergue. A bottle of wine, a nice seafood stew, a couple glasses of port and we were ready for a siesta. We are off to Rubiaes tomorrow.
On the way to Casa Fernanda’s
From the left: Carmen (Berlin), Fernanda, and Robin
Warming up some chorizo
Fernanda and Jacinto
Underway for Ponte do Lima
Entering Ponte do Lima